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Iowa's deaf community reacts to historic night for 'CODA' at the Oscar's

The film took home best picture, as well as best supporting actor. Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar.

DES MOINES, Iowa — "CODA" had a historic night Sunday at the 2022 Oscars.

The film made hisotry as the first film featuring a predominantly deaf cast to be nominated and win best picture. Troy Kostur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar for his supporting role. He is the second deaf person, behind Marlee Matlin, to win an Oscar. 

Matlin also starred in the film.

"It was 35 years ago when Marlee Matlin received her Oscar," said Iowa Association of the Deaf President Hampton. "Our goal is to get jobs in the movie industry. They keep hiring actors to portray the deaf while we really can act."

Hampton says the film resonated with so many people whose experiences are all unique. 

"It portrayed [children of deaf adults]," she added. "I’m deaf but also a CODA because my parents were deaf too. Being a hearing CODA is different from being a deaf CODA. We have our own culture. Hearing CODAs have both cultures, deaf and hearing. But their frustrations and struggles are identical to many others."

"We're just trying to be treated as our equal hearing counterparts," said Thrive Together Executive Director Jennifer Upah-Kyes. "We're all very intelligent, we all can do it. The only thing we cannot do is hear. So there's so many things with technology, so many advancements in technology, that now you know, it's working. If people would just open up their minds open up their ears, you know and just realize that everybody can work together if just if you allow us that that opportunity."

Thrive Together is a nonprofit working to improve the lives of those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Upah-Kyes is hopeful the film not only builds awareness for the deaf community, but opens the public's mind. 

"Watch the movie," she said. "Definitely watch the movie. Troy, who won the Oscar and Marlee Matlin, you know, they truly are showing that we are able, as well. And we definitely we can do it as our counterparts do it."

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